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The NWSL is set to welcome a new draft class on Friday night and commissioner Jessica Berman isn't just thrilled for that -- she's eager to keep building. Speaking to the media ahead of the draft, Berman highlighted multiple milestones including a new broadcast rights deal, record valuations for expansion teams and existing franchises, new NWSL champions NJ/NY Gotham FC and a rise in viewership metrics and attendance. 

The league is hopeful to build off their recent successes in 2024. 

Here's some key takeaways from her remarks:

Timeline for second expansion side in 2026

The league has already targeted 2026 as another double expansion year and unveiled NWSL Boston as the first of to two new teams joining. The timeline to select the next 16th team of the league is an on-going, months-long process with a future update later in 2024. 

"We launched the process officially at the championship on Nov. 11 and we have active due diligence ongoing as we speak with many different groups from many different cities," Berman said.

"We expect that that process will take approximately six to nine months. So probably won't have meaningful news to share until much later in 2024. But it is our hope that around [quarter three] of 2024, that we would be in a position to share news about who will be team 16 and that they will be joining Boston to join the League in 2026."

A league rebrand set for 2025

In 2020, a league rebrand was hinted at and came to a grinding halt alongside the globe as the COVID-19 pandemic affected sports leagues big time. Since the brief mention years prior, the league has already introduced some league rebranding of the NWSL trophy and plans to pursue more award remodels in collaboration with Tiffany and Co.

A league-scale rebrand would take some time for creative processes to come together. But Berman confirmed plans for that will move forward and is targeting 2025 to launch a new look for NWSL.

"Rebrand is fully in the works. We are tentatively targeting 2025 for that. It takes a lot of key input from key stakeholders to make sure we do it right. But I'm very confident in Julie Haddon (senior vice president of global brand and consumer marketing) and her incredible creative team and our ability to really reframe the look and feel of the league which of course will cascade into so many different areas of our business."

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Seattle Reign FC sale

Chicago Red Stars, Portland Thorns FC and Seattle Reign FC spent part of 2023 navigating new ownership sales. The Red Stars finalized their sale with a group led by MLB Chicago Cubs co-owner and WNBA Chicago Sky minority investor Laura Rickets in October 2023. Portland recently introduced a new ownership group in RAJ Sports for a record sale of $63 million. 

In a previous press conference, Berman stated existing franchise sales had targeted a deadline at the end of the 2023 calendar year to get sales finalized. 

"It is our hope and expectation that it will be closing in the short term and imminent future. When we have something to share we will, but we're still actively working on it and optimistic it will be soon."

Seattle Reign FC (previously OL Reign) recently rebranded back to the original Seatlle moniker as the franchise continues to navigate the sale of the club. Current owner, OL Groupe, is currently in negotiations to sell its majority stake in the club and the new rebrand is a sign that the deal may be close.